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Full text of "A history of Persia"

DISASTROUS CAMPAIGNS            417
Lake, the most important of which was Gokcha, remained
in dispute. Negotiations were carried on between General
Yermeloff, the Governor-General of the Caucasus, and
Abbas Mirza, but, no agreement being reached, Gokcha
was occupied by Russian troops. In consequence of this
high-handed act, the intense feeling of hostility to Russia
which had been excited by her conquests and by her con-
temptuous treatment of her new Moslem subjects broke
out into a national demonstration in favour of war. Abbas
Mirza was only too anxious to retrieve his lost reputation,
and from every province of Persia recruits in thousands
flocked to his standard. A Russian envoy, Prince
Menchikoff, was despatched to the court of Teheran upon
the accession of Tsar Nicholas, and it was hoped by the
peace-loving Shah that a satisfactory arrangement would
be effected ; but the Russian Prince had no instructions
to surrender Gokcha, and his., mission did nothing to
satisfy Persian public opinion, which-was deeply stirred.
Initial Persian Succes.s&s.—The first act of hostility was
an attack on a Russian force by the hereditary chief of
Talish, whose wife was irir%eir hands. This was followed
by an assault on Lenkoran,, which, was abandoned by its
garrison.
In the main theatre of war the Russians were unpre-
pared, and at first the Persians carried all before them.
An entire Russian regiment was captured marching towards
Shisha, and one half of the prisoners entered the service
of the Shah. The Moslems of Ganja massacred the
Russian garrison, and the Persians raided up to the gates
of Tiflis. So successful were they that in less than a
month Shirwan, Shaki, Talish, and Ganja had all been
reoccupied by the troops of the Shah. Shisha, however,
defied all the efforts of Abbas Mirza.
The Battle of Shamkar.—Russia meanwhile had been
concentrating an army at Tiflis, and the first battle was
fought at Shamkar, in the vicinity of Ganja, by a Russian
division of nine thousand men against a Persian force of
equal strength. The Persian cavalry, demoralized by the
Russian artillery fire, fled and was pursued by Cossacks
along the rear of the Persian infantry. Seeing this, the
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